“A Thousand Years of the Persian Book” Exhibition Past

March 27 to Sept 20, 2014 ,
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
- Washington, DC, United States

Free and open to the public
An exhibition at the Library of Congress will explore the rich literary tradition of the Persian language over the last millennium, from illuminated manuscripts to contemporary publications. The exhibition will bring attention to the literary achievements of Iran and the greater Persian-speaking regions of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Central and South Asia and the Caucasus.

"A Thousand Years of the Persian Book" will open on Thursday, March 27 in the South Gallery on the second level of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 E. First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, the exhibition will close on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.

The exhibition’s 75 items are drawn primarily from the outstanding Persian collection in the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division. The Library’s Persian collection is among the most important in the world today outside of Iran.

The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), Ambassador Hushang Ansary, Jawad Kamel, Nazie Eftekhari and other generous donors.

The Persian language gained prominence as a literary and common cultural language about a thousand years ago. Since then, a rich and varied written and spoken heritage has developed in the Persian language, elevating the visibility of the Persian civilization among world intellectual traditions. That tradition is particularly strong in the fields of storytelling, poetry, folklore, and literature, with important contributions in historiography, science, religion, and philosophy.

The exhibition will look at the Persian language and earlier writing systems and scripts; the seminal 10th-century "Shahnameh" (Book of Kings); and works in the fields of religion, science and technology, history, literature, classical Persian poetry, 18th- and 19th-century literature, modern and contemporary literature, women writers, and storytelling and children’s literature. The exhibition will also demonstrate the continuity of the written word as a unifying cultural force in Persian-speaking lands.

The lead curator of the exhibition is Hirad Dinavari, reference specialist for the Iranian World Collections in the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED). The exhibition director is Cynthia Wayne of the Library’s Interpretive Programs Office.

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